Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sign up for the Fall 2017 Game Jam here!

What's a Game Jam?

You have one weekend to form a team and build a game! Game Jams are exciting and fun opportunities for students of all experience levels to engage in game development.

When and where does the Game Jam start?

The event starts on Friday, October 27th in ECE 104 (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Room 104). We encourage participants to show up at 5:00 PM to socialize and form teams, and kickoff starts at 5:30!

When does the Game Jam end?

Games are due at noon on Sunday, October 29th, and the closing ceremonies begin shortly after. There, teams present their games to the judges and contestants, and we announce the winners!

Do I have to stay at the event for its duration?

Nope! Most teams do choose to stay at the event, but the only parts of the Game Jam that participants absolutely have to attend are the kickoff and the closing ceremony. On the other hand, the event runs continuously for its duration, so some teams choose to stay overnight!

But I don't know how to make a game!

You don't need to have prior game development experience to be a valuable team member! If you can write code, draw art, make 3D models, design levels, compose music, record sound effects, or write a story, your team can help you learn how to apply those skills to game development!

Can I form any team?

There is no restriction on team size, but we recommend sticking to no more than two people of any skillset (art, programming, music, etc.), since that makes it much harder to designate tasks.

Can I make any game?

Pretty much! We only ask that teams make new games, instead of working on existing projects, which is why the Game Jam has a mystery theme to be announced during kickoff that all teams' games should use as inspiration! Reusing individual assets from past games, such as existing art, code, or music, is fine.

This all sounds great! How do I sign up?

The link's at the top, remember? But because you've been such a good listener, I'll link it again here.

Wait! I have more questions!

You can contact us with any other questions you might have! The organizers for this Game Jam are Riley Driscoll, Joseph Scheidemandel, and Dani Jaramillo, so they're the best officers to ask.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Do graphics matter? 

Hell yeah! Well, maybe not quite graphics, but.....

-a s s e t s-

This week, we talked about asset creation. What are assets? In games, assets are everything! An asset is any element that is used by the game to represent something in the game. Sprites, models, textures, animations, music, sound effects, you name it! The thing is, not all of us are professional artists. Where do you even begin? 

Fortunately, there are some great options out there! 

--Music and Sound effects--

Audacity - Audacity is an amazingly simple and powerful sound editing program. A favorite at game jams, Audacity allows for easy mixing and recording sound and music to be used in video games, movies, or anything else!

Freesound Project - The Free Sound Project is a huge, ever expanding library of free sound effects completely royalty free! They have a massive selection of sounds to fit even your most obscure needs! - A library of great sound effects, all royalty free! Browse to your heart's content!

--Digital Art--

Adobe Photoshop - What??? Photoshop?! I thought these were free assets!! Don't worry! If you're a student at UA, you're given free access to the entire adobe suite! Photoshop is an incredibly powerful, almost industry standard tool for digital art and photo manipulation. Making animations and repeating tilesets has never been easier. Special thanks to our talented Dani Jaramillo for showing off her amazing Photoshop skills!

Piskel - oh boy... Piskel is a personal favorite of mine. Piskel is an incredibly simple and easy to use browser based pixel art program. Gone are the days of MS paint pixel art, Piskel comes loaded with tons of really great quality of life tools like layers, color targeting, an entire animation suite with onion skinning, and probably the best part, easy exporting of sprite sheets! With just one simple download, you can take your finished animations and load them into your favorite game engines, ready to go! Plus, since it's all done in browser, you can just open it up on any computer and have all your files on the cloud.

--3-D Assets--


Yep that's basically it! But for good reason! Blender does it all! Modeling, rigging, animation, texturing, image editing, video editing, it's own game engine for testing levels, open source-- it's got it all. Blender is an incredibly powerful tool for making anything and everything in the third dimension! 

And there's way more out there! We only had time to talk about a couple at the meeting!

Talk about more asset creation stuff on our Discord! :

If you want to learn more about this crazy powerful tool, and how to make your own 3D models for games or animations (but mostly games :P) Come to the Blender Workshop that I'm running this Saturday from 2 - 5 pm in ECE 104! I'll see you guys there!

Monday, September 25, 2017

        If you're interested in game development and you're not a masochist, you'll need to use a game engine. A game engine is a program that comes packaged with a bunch of things that make making games and other applications much, much easier! You've probably heard of them before, even if you know nothing about game development! Ever heard of Source? Frostbite? Unreal Engine? Unity? Gamemaker? At the last meeting, we went over everything you need to know about game engines, so that you can choose the one that's right for you!

        This weekend was the Unity Workshop! Everyone who came learned how to make a complete video game in the Unity game engine completely from scratch! Great job everyone who came!

Here's an album full of pictures from the workshop!

        At the next meeting, we'll be discussing our struggles and successes when it comes to game development. A few of us officers will be giving talks and showing off different games that we've finished (or not) at different stages of development. We'll be going over why we cut features and added features, give insight into our design process, and answer technical questions!

Keep in the know by joining our Discord!

Our next meeting is this Monday September 25th - 5:30 pm in ECE 104!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Don't worry, the new blog post is here!

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great time at last meeting's game design mini-challenge! Sorry this blog post is going up so late (the day before the next meeting....), I'll try to get them up much, much earlier. 

Last week, we split into groups of 5-6 and were tasked with modifying a simple card game to make it more fun and interested! We were blown away with your creativity and passion for game design!!! Keep it up! 

Here is a link to a gallery of photos from the event:

Last Friday, (sept. 8th) was our first Game Night! Sponsored by American Express, we all enjoyed free food and games! A great time for all involved! We hold club-wide game nights once a month! Be sure to come to the next one!

Here are some of the photos from the event:

Here are some of our upcoming events : 

Our next meeting is this Monday, September 18th at 5:30 pm in ECE 104! (Yes, that's tomorrow!)

The Unity workshop will be happening this coming Saturday, September 23rd from 2-5 pm in ECE 104! We'll be going over some of the details of what you need to bring to maximize your experience. Learn how to use one of the most powerful and accessible game engines ever!

Want to join in the discussion? Join our discord here!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Break time's over.

It's time to get back into the full swing of things with another exciting semester of Game Dev club! If you're a new member, welcome! If you're a returning member, welcome back! We hope to make this year of Game Dev Club the best it's ever been, with new talks, workshops, and personal project showcases!

At our first meeting last Monday, we showcased some of our club member's personal summer projects! We showed off some amazing games, animations, and text-adventures this week including...

Joseph Scheidemandel's Twilight Prophecy:
Hey, that's me! This 3D animation project took up most of my summer, totally around 2 months of solid work! I made it entirely from scratch in Blender, a free 3D modeling and animation program! Featuring an amazing musical score by Enrique Ponce, this Fantasia-style music video follows a robot on his quest for an ancient weapon.

Check it out! -

Chris Klimoski's Blast Down:
Who knew our club president was such a talented game developer?? This innovative combo/dexterity game made in Phaser challenges the player to take control of an upside down rocket pack in order to trampoline there way through waves of killer robots.

Chris Klimoski's Blast Down

Play it now! -

Previous semester's Game Jam games:

In addition to showing off our summer projects, we also looked back on previous games developed during our bi-yearly Game Jams. These include....

Gravidude - A gravity manipulation puzzle-platformer that's never gonna give you up.

On Death and Dying - A stylish 2D platformer with a dark and oppressive atmosphere.

B.R.E.A.D. - A cute and polished 2D platformer that challenges you to collect bread-based-baddies and use them as flaming toast ammunition!

More Coffee Mr. President? - Can you stay awake long enough to fulfill your presidential duties? This hilarious Wario-Ware style game might just be the key to understanding the current administration...

And a whole bunch of other currently-in-development games and projects that I don't have the assets or permission to share! (But they all looked great!)

Here are this week's announcements:

The club fair is this Wednesday, September 6th, 9am - 2pm. Come check out our booth on the mall!

Our first game night will be next Friday, September 8th. This event is sponsored by American Express! There will be free food and games for everyone who shows up! Bring your friends! This event takes place in ECE 102, 104, and 105 from 6pm ~ 12am!

Join in the game development discussion on our discord! We discuss upcoming events, give each other advice, share resources, and show off our projects!

I hope you all have a great semester!

Friday, April 28, 2017

This week, at our penultimate meeting of the semester, Jeremy hosted a discussion about elevator pitches.  How do you talk to someone about a game you're working on without coming across as a complete madman?

Imagine it: You're in an elevator, when suddenly Hideo Kojima gets in!  What is he doing here?  It doesn't matter!  Now you only have about a minute to get him to remember your game.  Oh no, his floor is coming up, and you can't quite communicate why your game is so exciting!  If only you'd rehearsed!

Suddenly, you realize... this isn't real!  You're back in 2017, and now you have time to come up with your pitch before that once-in-a-lifetime encounter.  Whew!

We also talked briefly about affordances in game design!  Affordances are an important concept in UX, especially so in something as complex as a video game.  There's no need to teach something which your design naturally affords!

The slides for both of these topics are here!  See you next week, at our last meeting of the semester!  There will be food!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

This week, club-renowned 3D artist Joseph Scheidemandel delivered his best advice for producing fluid, consistent 2D animation!  Stop being so good at so many things, Joseph!

His slides are here!  You may recognize Joseph's animations from this Spring's game-jam-winning Wulfric and Pip, the only game I know of with a 20-frame animation for throwing a box.

Also, art professor Joseph Farbrook gave us an overview of the classes being offered for 3D art next semester!  They're open to students outside of the art department, but only if you get his permission first, so be sure to let him know if you're interested!

Weekly Announcements

  • Our final game night is this Friday!  We'll be going all-out on this one, with more snacks than we've ever offered, Smash Brothers and Hearthstone tournaments and, of course, the usual smorgasboard of board games.
  • We finally have a Discord server!  This will be the best way to stay connected with other club members.  Share things you've made, ask for advice, or just talk!  Click here to join.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This week, we had our annual officer elections to decide who should run the club next year!  The results will SHOCK you if you've never attended a meeting before.

Here are next year's officers!

President: Chris Klimowski
Vice President: Riley Driscoll
Treasurer: Dani Jaramillo
Outreach Officer: Vincente Figueroa
Secretary: Joseph Scheidemandel
GDC Planner: Joseph Corona

Look at this team, we're gonna do great!

Weekly Announcements

  • This Saturday at 2PM we're holding our semi-annual Twine Jam!  We looked briefly at Twine again this meeting, and played an extra-spoopy skeleton-themed game I made at last semester's event.  Join us this weekend to make a bizarre text adventure of our very own, no experience required!
  • Next Friday, the 21st, is our next (and final) game night of the semester!  We may or may not have a bit of a budget surplus, so we're planning on making this one extra special.  I don't want to get your hopes up too much, though.  We still didn't have that much money to begin with.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

At this week's meeting, instead of just having one talk, we went all-out with a veritable barrage of three talks about some of our favorite game mechanics!

First, Jeremy talked about Hearthstone again.  He's talked about Hearthstone before, right?  Yeah, I think we remember that one time.  But this time, it was specifically about how, being a digital card game instead of a physical one, the game is designed with its UI in mind, and I think that you'll find that what he opined should be underlined in any aspiring digital tabletop game designer's notebook.

Next, Miranda talked about Fire Emblem... again?  Well, no, it was actually Dani who talked about it last time.  And Miranda's talk was specifically about how the games handle permadeath, the closest that video games can come to physically taking your loved ones away from you.  What does permadeath add to a strategy game?  How does it change its dynamics?  Who is that one anime sword guy from Smash?  Fire Emblem answers all of these questions, and more.

Finally, I gave a talk about Invisible, Inc, a game that I haven't been able to shut up about in any "what have you been playing recently?" discussions since last summer.  I specifically talked about how the game lets players choose their own goals for each level, balancing the risk of failure with the potential reward of precious loot, and along the way got a bit distracted by the absurd floor plans of fictional dystopian corporations.

All of the slides can be found here!  We hope these details in games were as interesting to you as they are to us!

Weekly Announcements

  • We're holding officer elections for next year in one week!  If you're at all interested in becoming an officer next year, click here!
  • Next Saturday, April 15th is our semi-annual Twine Jam!  It only lasts a few hours, and always ends in laughter.  No experience required!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Last weekend was our latest game jam, an opportunity for anyone interested in game development to get into teams, hang out, eat good food, and spend the weekend putting together a complete game in just 42 hours!

This time, we collectively made 12 games!  You can find links to the ones we have access to below.  If your game isn't on the list, send us a link to it!

(in case it isn't obvious, the theme was ALIEN.)

Congratulations to everyone who participated, you made some amazing stuff!  Here are some photos:

Weekly Announcements
  • Our next Game Night is this Friday!  Come!  Hang out!  Play games!
  • If you're interested in becoming an officer next year, the interest form is now open!  Click here!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Last week, me, Joseph, and Kyle went on the club's annual trip to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco!  And at this week's meeting, we told you guys all about it.

You can find our presentation slides right here!  Believe me when I say that the trip was a great opportunity in addition to being enormous amounts of fun.  We hope that next year more people can go!

Also, in preparation for the game jam in two weeks, Jeremy gave a quick re-introduction to Piskel, our favorite pixel-art sprite editor, and Beepbox, our favorite chiptune music creator.  Both tools are free and web-based, so there's no reason not to give them a shot!

Have a great Spring Break, everyone!

Weekly Announcements
  • Our next Game Jam is coming up!  Join us on March 24-26 for our biggest event of the semester.  More information here!
  • We'll be holding officer elections for next year on April 10th!  More information coming soon...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This week, after briefly showing off some of the games from the weekend's Valentine's Game event, we were joined by Enrique Ponce!  As a professional soundtrack composer, he talked about his experience creating music for video games: the tools, the process, and the business.

His presentation slides are here!  He also shared one of his scores here, an example work-for-hire agreement here, and an example composer agreement here.  Thanks, Enrique!

Weekly Announcements
  • We're hosting another Game Night, this Friday at 6pm!  There will be fun games, fun people, and maybe even fun snacks.
  • Saturday, February 25th at 1:30pm, we're doing a Mario Maker Jam A tiny competition where you'll have a few hours to make the best Mario level you can!
  • March 3rd will be our first fundraiser of the year!  In partnership with the Union's Game Room, it will be a game night with a $5 entry fee.  In addition to the usual board games, we'll have access to pool, ping pong, and maybe even a Nintendo Switch!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This week, I talked a bit about how games work by walking through a simple project in my favorite beginner's game engine, Love2D!  This is something that I've given talks about before, but we think it's worth revisiting every once in a while.  Hopefully it was as helpful to you as it would have been to me a couple years ago!

Now, for those of you who weren't able to make it, there are unfortunately no slides I can give you this time, as it was all done in the form of a live demonstration.  But luckily, we have something even better than slides... friendship! I mean, links!

The engine I used, Love2D, can be downloaded here for free!

If you want to start learning it for yourself, try this tutorial, or jump into the Love2D wiki!

If you want to revisit what we made in the meeting, you can download that here!

Finally, the "finished" version of my Asteroids clone (including actual asteroids!  And multiple bullets!) can be downloaded right here!

Weekly Announcements

  • This Saturday at 1:30pm we're hosting a Valentine's Game Mini-Jam!  Come, hang out, and make the dating simulator of your (or someone else's) dreams.
  • Mark your calendars, because next Friday is the next Game Night!  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Like last semester, our second meeting of the year was a game design workshop!  Also like last semester, it was a ton of fun.  We split into teams and, with nothing but paper, dice, pennies, and meeples, had 30 minutes to create a game!

Due to time constraints, Jeremy wasn't able to talk as long as he would have liked about the game design process, but you can catch the slides yourself right here.

Weekly Announcements

  • This Saturday, February 4th, we're hosting a Unity Workshop from 2:00-4:00!  Meet in ECE 104 if you're interested.
  • The following Saturday, February 11th will be a special Valentine's Game Mini-Jam!  Have you ever wanted to make a dating sim?  There's literally no better time!  It'll last from 1:30-5:30.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hi everyone!  

If you're new to the club, welcome!  If you're a returning member, welcome back!  Either way, we've got a semester chock full of talks, workshops, game jams, and game nights ready to unleash upon you like a pack of rabid dogs.  I mean, rabid puppies.  I mean, regular puppies.

The first puppy of the semester was our usual icebreaker meeting!  We talked about the games we've been playing, the projects we worked on over break, and our personal goals for the semester.  We saw a lot of new faces this meeting, and can't wait to see them (and the bodies attached to them) again soon!

Weekly Announcements

  • This upcoming Friday is our first game night of the semester!  Come play games with us in the usual room starting at 6pm on Friday.
  • The Saturday after that, on February 4th, we're hosting a Unity workshop!  Come learn the world's most popular game engine, no previous game dev experience necessary!